Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

Spring 2016 HMS Foundation Scholarships Awards are Announced

Sunday, January 03, 2016

The Watson College of Education joined a select group of 21 institutions as a Hattie M. Strong Foundation partner in 2013. The partnership allows WCE to offer a $5,000 scholarship each semester for three years to outstanding pre-service teachers in the internship semester. The foundation generously provided additional funding that has enabled WCE to award two scholarships for the spring 2016 semester.

Scholarships are awarded to students with strong academic performance, who show promise to be outstanding student interns and classroom teachers, and have financial need. Please join us in extending congratulations to Kei Kurosu and Russell Bywaters, spring 2016 recipients of the Hattie M. Strong Foundation Scholarship at UNCW.

Kei Kurosu

Kei Kurosu is enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Secondary Science Education program at the Watson College. She is also seeking English as a Second Language (ESL) add-on licensure.

Kurosu is a graduate of Hoggard High School in Wilmington and UNC Chapel Hill, where she majored in music and biology and minored in chemistry.

A native of Honduras, Kurosu moved to the United States with her family at the age of five. She returned to Honduras as part of a public health brigade during her third year at UNC, and completed a six-month internship in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in 2014 after earning her bachelor’s degree. While on the brigade in Honduras, Kurosu served as a translator for American doctors, interacted with children and heard first-hand their dreams for many things we take for granted, like learning to read.

The internship was an incredible experience, and one that led her to enroll in WCE’s MAT program with the goal of becoming a teacher and “bettering the lives of those who I can serve,” Kurosu said.

The Hattie Strong Scholarship will lighten the financial burden and provide encouragement as Kurosu works to complete her graduate degree. “It’s great to know that people see the potential that I have and the determination I have to achieve that potenial,” she said.

Russell Bywaters

Russell Bywaters is a senior enrolled in the Special Education General Curriculum program at the Watson College.

A nontraditional student in his 30s, Bywaters worked for several years before enrolling at Cape Fear Community College with the goal of becoming a special education teacher. A close personal connection with a nephew diagnosed with autism strongly influenced his decision and provided motivation to succeed, he said.

Bywaters transferred to UNCW in 2014. Since then, he has made the Dean’s List and been an active member of the Watson Student Leaders. The WSL program has provided an opportunity to work with peers from all departments of the Watson College, participate in recruiting, community outreach and social activities, and build a large network of friends, he said. He described the WSLs as “a huge, strong family.”

Since 2012, Bywaters has worked full time while being a full time undergraduate student. The Hattie M. Strong Scholarship will enable him to focus fully on the most important semester of his college career, the internship semester, he said. He also hopes to take advantage of work-free weekends to become more involved with programs like the Miracle League, the Good Shepherd Center and the Boys and Girls Club.

“I owe a big thanks to the faculty, staff and students of the Watson College,” Bywaters said. “I honestly would not be in the position I am academically without all of their support. Receiving this scholarship will enable me to give back more to a community that has given so much to me.”

The Hattie M. Strong Foundation

Since 1928, the Hattie M. Strong Foundation (HMSF) has helped aspiring students achieve a college degree in their chosen field of study by providing interest-free loans with flexible repayment terms. In 2009, recognizing the alarming debt loads of recent graduates, the foundation’s board of directors moved to offer scholarships instead. Today, HMSF’s primary activity is the administration of a scholarship program aimed at college students enrolled in teacher training programs at partnering institutions. Partner colleges are selected based on demonstrated leadership in preparing outstanding classroom teachers.

A specific goal of the foundation is to help reduce financial pressure during the student internship semester, when a student’s ability to offset expenses with outside employment is curtailed by the rigor of full-time work in the classroom.

For additional information, visit www.hattie.org.